Friday, July 5, 2024

Mastering Context Clues: Helping Any Reader Discover the Meaning of Unknown Words

 

abode
This abode found on a sidewalk is a cute house.   

Authors like to assist   emerging readers. What they do is give hints to what a complex word is, or help the reader determine the meaning of a word.

 

An author will chose to help by one or more of the following ways:

 

 

 

 

·      Definition: An author sometimes give the definition in his or her own words that corresponds to one of the meanings of the words.

 

For instance: Donald Trump lugubrious tactics for getting attention is ignored by many people because he tells lies that are often ridiculous and makes some people sad for the state of American politics.  

 

·      Inference--The author gives the reader reasoning about the word after it's mentioned.

 

For instance: A Wifi signal has become ubiquitous in so many coffee shops that customers are surprised when they don't have it.  

 

·      Compare/Contrast--The author will create a comparison or contrast of a word that he/she thinks might help you to determine the word: 

 

For instance: Clouds are amorphous unlike skyscrapers on a city skyline that form distinctive human-made shapes made by engineers.

 

·      Logic: The writer uses logical information about what is already known about a word so the reader can guess the meaning.

 

For instance: Large birds like eagles and hawks have large claws so they can grab predators with them.  

 

 Context Cues Takeaway

 

One way for readers from children to seniors can recognize and comprehend challenging words is for  students to learn the different ways authors give clues to them. 

 

Readers can create better comprehension skills by learning about context cues. Additionally, writers who have knowledge about these essential tidbits of information will pen articles about complex subject-discipline topics so that a layperson can understand what they are reading.

Monday, June 3, 2024

Philosophical Pondering--Aligning Common Core Standards to Critically Thinking about Election 2024

                                Rodin’s “The Thinker” Photo by Matthew Bamberg


For most Western philosophers, deep questioning is vital for comprehending many aspects of various communication. 

The Election 2024 season can be aligned to Common Core ELA standards by implementing the following standards: 

  • RI.6-12.1: Have students analyze primary sources such as candidate speeches, policy proposals, and news articles to support their analysis with textual evidence.
  • RI.6-12.8: Evaluate arguments in candidates’ speeches, including the validity of the reasoning and the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

An example of one of the most important issues today is climate change. The following standard relates to how Election 2024 can relate to the science of global warming.

  • RI.6-12.8: Evaluate arguments in candidates’ speeches, including the validity of the reasoning and the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

While I attempt to take ample spoonfuls of logic and reason before I utter a word, it doesn’t always happen. If I fail, I’ll try and try again. Interpreting philosophers is a challenging critical thinking task.

Although Western philosophers were wise and contributed significantly to the development of logic and reason, they always didn’t practice what they preached. Their suggestions for education are nonetheless valuable and worth considering.

My take on their ideas stems from many years of teaching students how to think critically in each discipline they learn. Each can be applied to the Common Core Standards above.

SOCRATES C. 470–399 B.C

Socrates believed that leaders can be confused and irrational. 

Consider a situation where you question common beliefs. For example, some people have the idea that the weather causes earthquakes.

PLATO C. 427–347 B.C.

Reasoning that education included teaching about individual and social justice, Plato mused that every human soul wants to reach spiritual and higher truths to transform the world.

What activities can adults engage young people in to ensure that each develops to the best of his/her ability?

ARISTOTLE 384–322 B.C.

Concerned that education must include reasoning and ethics, Aristotle created the syllogism to ensure logic. 

A syllogism includes a universal statement and an example, which leads to a conclusion to illustrate a logical argument. 
For example, all humans are mortal. The writer of this article is human (as far as he knows). Therefore, the writer is mortal. 

What syllogism would be valid about Election 2024?

THOMAS AQUINAS 1225–1274

Developing ideas, including analyzing criticism of them, was one of many ideas from Aquinas.

What are some ways adults can discuss ideas with each other and with children that teach that criticism can be constructive?

FRANCIS BACON 1561–1626

The mind works best by observation, yet it can lead to misconceptions by tricking itself, which was an important point made by Bacon. 

How can people think together for better long-term circumstances?

RENÉ DESCARTES 1596–1650

According to my interpretation of Descartes, humans are better off using discipline as a mind exercise. Furthermore, every part of thought requires questioning, doubting, and the creation of logical examples that apply to it.

Should conversations require examination?  

IMMANUEL KANT 1724–1804

Critiques should be devoid of prejudice and false judgments and contain reflection through examples. The categorical imperative necessitates just behavior and understanding of the places science, ethics, and spirituality have in our lives. 

How would you explain that science is based on years of testing and research?

JOHN LOCKE 1632–1704

Rulers must rationally respect citizens' life, liberty, and property rights as part of a government system and respect reasonable criticism about human needs from citizens, or else that government will be replaced. 

How should political leaders react to constructive criticism to ensure it meets the basic needs of the people it serves? 

JOHN DEWEY 1859–1952

Seeking to ensure education for all, Dewey insisted that learning includes hands-on practices and the information needed to participate in a robust democracy. 

How can citizens increase their participation in supporting democracy and advocate for people to have a good life?

THEODOR ADORNO 1903–1969

Realizing human understanding was complex, Adorno mused that humans see concrete and abstract objects and ideas as unique and that categorizing them limits knowledge of their nature. 

How can society move and develop thinking about objects and ideas by respecting their uniqueness and complexity? 

Takeaway

For democracy to work, considerations that outline its existence by the masters of Western political thought throughout the ages must remain fluid and open to the new ideas of a changing demographic to create a good life for all people. 

Matthew Bamberg is a professor who teaches critical thinking courses to graduate university students.